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One my essential entrepreneurial practices is a morning Personal Success Routine (“PSR”), that is my foundation for the day.  If you don’t have one or you never consciously designed it – you need one.  If you have one, I’d love to hear about yours in the comments.  I’ve found that when I don’t follow some kind of morning Personal Success Routine that includes some or all of various meditation, writing, exercise or happiness activities, I feel less healthy, less happy and less productive – both in the ways I have fun and in work.

Why I had to figure this out

When I left salesforce.com in late 2006, “my plan was to have no plan” –  I was “committed to being uncommitted”!  I wanted to have a bunch of different work and life adventures, for at least six months, before settling into a long-term direction. In work terms, that meant doing consulting projects for awhile rather than trying to start my own company right away.  I’ve seen that when I or others jump from one job/career to another, it’s impossible to get the mental space and clarity that helps you actually consciously know “is this really the right path/step for me, or am I doing it just because it’s the next rung on the ladder or it’s convenient?”   (Not unlike relationships.)

Whenever I was in a 9-to-5 job, it automatically forced me to create a morning routine – wakeup at 7a, eat oatmeal, shower, get dressed in a collared shirt, get coffee, read the paper, take the bus to work…etc.  (As I’m writing this, I’m noticing how much my morning consumptions changed – no coffee, oatmeal or newspapers.  I’m a little allergic/sensitive to coffee and oats, and I don’t read news anymore – online or offline.)

No daily structure can be as bad as too much structure

After I left the 9-to-5 world, I had to figure out a whole new morning routine for myself. I mean sure, it’s fun waking up to nothing for awhile…but it gets old.  When you have no morning or daily structure, it can be as irritating as having too much structure.  And even though I’d been an entrepreneur before, it was different because I was the CEO of a company…and thus had another 9-to-5 job.

  • Side note for everyone who thinks being a CEO is automatically fun, enlivening and easy – it’s not. It can be the loneliest, most stressed role in a company, if you aren’t conscious in your design of your company or role.  It’s why I’m also doing CEOFlow: “Turn Your Employees Into Mini-CEOs”.

So now in my PebbleStormy (yes, that’s a word) world of “work on what I want, when I want, with whom I want, from where I want…” I’ve been experimenting for a long time on how to start my days off on the right foot.  Trust me, either lying in bed or doing nothing in the morning gets old fast – well, if I do it more than 1-2 days per week…

My routine that helps me feel healthier, happier and more focused and productive each day

  1. Get enough sleep.  I’m actually working on getting more sleep. I’m only getting about 6 hours per night (last night I got 5).  I want 7 – 7.5 hours per night, which is perfect for me.  The whole “sleep when I’m dead” mentality is bullshizz.  What good is not sleeping if you don’t enjoy your days as much?  I feel like crap when I don’t get enough sleep after a few days, and am much less clear and productive.   Right now I set my alarm for 7am.
  2. Drink water. 1-2 cups. I get dehydrated at night. It’s the best thing to have before anything else in the morning.
  3. Get moving, I do either some jumping jacks, push ups and/or sit ups. This is both for the exercise and to wake up and get my blood moving.
  4. Meditation. I do 10-30 minutes almost every morning.  It would be nice if I was more regular about meditating for 5 minutes before bed, too.  I did a blog post about my practice: A lifetime happiness and focus enhancer: Vipassana meditation. If you’ve never meditated before, you can start with 1-2 minutes: Meditation 101: How To Start.
  5. The Artist Way “Morning Pages”. The essence of this: just write three pages of anything, even gibberish, every morning, and it will help you unlock your creativity.  I really like these as a way to do a brain chatter dump, and get some advice from myself. Sometimes I just do half a page, sometimes the full three pages.
  6. 1-2 happiness/centering exercises. These days I’ll do some exercises from either the Hoffman Institute retreat I did or from the Abraham-Hicks book “Ask And It Is Given” (I love their Focus Wheel Process).  I HIGHLY recommend that book for both the content and all the great tools in the back!
  7. A “3 goals” process. I ask myself the question, “if I can only get 3-5 things done today, what should they be?”  What are my top priorities?
  8. Exercise: 4-5 days a week I do either running (20-45 min down to the Santa Monica beach) or yoga in the morning (I love Rudy at 9am at Power Yoga in Santa Monica).  If I run, I do it early – after I drink water, but before all the other stuff (before meditation, etc).  When I do yoga, it comes after my writing/meditation.
  9. Skin brushing: I had a couple of trusted experts tell me about this, and now I do it most days before showering.  There are plenty of articles about skin brushing and why it’s good for you, but I’ll tell you the main reason I like it – it stimulates my skin and nerves and body like I’m getting a caffeine charge.  Very cool.
  10. Good food: Almost every morning, I have a green smoothie (picture on Facebook).  I have a Vita-Mix blender, and dump in spinach (a lot!), an apple, berries, and all kinds of superfoods and goodies like ginger, lemon, mesquite, rice protein, flaxseed, hempseed, maca, goji berries and spirulina.  You can google “green smoothie” online for all kinds of suggestions.  I became religious about this after taking an amazing ‘uncooking’ class from June Louks in Malibu, who wrote a great book called  “Rawumptious Recipes: A Family’s Adventure to Healthy, Happy, Harmonious Living”.  I’m not a raw foodie, but can appreciate all the information and recipes.

I’m always experimenting with these steps, adding, subtracting, playing.  The order of steps often changes depending on the day and whether I’m running, doing yoga, am time-limited, etc.  I’m not too anal about it.

This might seem like a lot – and it is.  I set aside a couple of hours for all of this, not including the exercise.  That’s how important it is to me. I didn’t start here, I evolved this over the past three years, building on it step-by-step, then starting from scratch and trying other things. My travel still plays havoc with my PSR!

Take babysteps rather than jumping in too fast

You don’t need a lot of steps in the morning, or some complex routine.  Start with something simple, such as a green smoothie.  Or 1-2 minutes of meditation.  Create a plan to have a more exensive PSR over time, including good food, exercise, meditation, happiness awareness/practice and goal-setting.  If you try to do too much too quickly, you’ll be more likely to fall off track at some point and get discouraged.  Start with one thing at a time – take babysteps, and keep at them.   Keep it simple and add one new practice per month.  If you fall off track, just get back on when you can.

[Updated] Being kind to myself

I woke up Monday morning feeling run-down (it started Sunday night), and I needed a rest day. So my PSR for Monday was staying in bed sleeping and/or reading a fiction book until 11am 🙂   Being successful includes being kind/easy to myself in addition to pushing myself.  Too much of one or the other unbalances me.

How I Design My Week For Success

A follow up post about designing my week:
http://pebblestorm.com/2010/03/12/how-i-design-my-week-for-success/

“Productive Flourishing” Charley Gilkey’s PSR

If you really want to take this thinking to the next level, check out Charlie Gilkey:
How Heatmapping Your Productivity Can Make You More Productive

What’s your PSR?   Please share in the comments!

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In July I spoke at a Meeting Of The Minds event in Southern California. MOTMs was started by Kurt Daradics of FreedomSpeaks and Baron Miller, and is a great group of entrepreneurial people that meets monthly.  I had fun sharing with them last night!  The format was casual (more of an interview) and not a presentation, and so rather than a slide deck, I put together a collection of sketches I’ve done over the past year, and at different times during the talk I’d call one up to share with people.

Here is the collection…enjoy!

View more presentations from Aaron Ross.

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This summer, a group of PebbleStorm entrepreneurs got together for a “Treasure Map Hike” in Topanga Canyon. We began the day with a guided visualization, then started hiking. Along the way we picked up pirate toys, new friends and great ideas!  Some lasting friendships and business partnerships have come from that one fun day.

The full Facebook photo album is on the PebbleStorm Fan Page.

Some people go straight for the enjoyment gold, some have to climb mountains before they get there (like me), and others wander through the desert, fight dragons and hike through volcanoes to get there.

If you’re a mountain climber or volcano-hiker and want some help…

Unique Genius Coaching – you can work like this too!

img_3768I am now doing individual coaching of clients.  I even have a client as far away as Copenhagen, Denmark. (Hi Simon!)

PebbleStorm is a community of people that have fun helping each other succeed – as you can see from the pictures and video below 🙂

In my own coaching, I help you get clear on what you are passionate about, how to find your Unique Genius, and show you how to make money from it in a way that aligns with your values and how you want work to make your life amazing!

Sign up for a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” here.

And now…

Arrr!!!
And more fun 🙂

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